Setting up a meeting *seems* like an easy task, but you’d be surprised at how many people still don’t do this simple action quite right. Here are 3 steps for setting up your next meeting (if you must have one) that’ll have your coworkers singing your praises.

Make the title descriptive.

Duh, tell people why you want to meet with them. Don’t be vague and put “Quick meeting with Camri” as the title, this doesn’t tell Camri anything about what your summoning her for. Having a descriptive title, like “Feature X Discussion,” will remove guessing when she’s glancing at her daily calendar later and remove any panic she might have from going to this “quick meeting.” 😬

Have an agenda.

So you put a descriptive title for the meeting–great job! Now Camri has an idea about why you want to meet with her, and she just might be prepared for what you’re about to ask. Now, what if this is a meeting with the whole product team, and you were actually able to get a time on everyone’s calendars? Let’s be efficient and respectful of everyone’s time; send them an agenda. What’s the goal of this meeting? Who are you hoping to hear from? Giving the team a heads up about the goal of the meeting will ensure that everyone comes prepared and won’t waste time tracking down the right mockup to show that feature you’re wanting to discuss.

Send a follow-up email.

This is probably the most important thing to do. Sending a follow-up email about what was discussed along with any actionable items (and who is responsible for them!) will keep everyone on the same page. Now there won’t be any misunderstanding between Camri and Jamie about who was supposed to follow up with the dev team on that feature. There will be no vagueness about what was taken away from this meeting because you’ve written it down and made it your duty to follow-up when the time comes. You’re a true hero.

Bonus Tips

  • Only schedule as much time as you need, and stick to it. It can be tough when you’re in the middle of a great discussion about a new feature, but was that the goal of the meeting? If not, make a note of that feature and schedule time later with the appropriate people to hash it out. Going over the allotted meeting time basically tells others you have no respect for their time and don’t know how to run a successful meeting.
  • Don’t schedule a meeting for the same day. Most people start their day by looking at their calendars to see what meetings they have and plan what tasks they’re hoping to accomplish around those meetings. Understandably, this can’t always be avoided, so try to be brief and direct in your same-day meetings.

So, when it comes time for you to schedule your next team meeting, you can use these tips to ensure that everyone is there, comes prepared, and isn’t sweating bullets about your vague meeting title. What tips do you have for making sure every meeting is productive and successful? Tweet them at us on Twitter!

Meeting Planning 101

Jamie Aucoin

Designer @ Spiceworks

Category: Organization
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